tv 4 Your Sunday Viewpoint NBC November 6, 2016 5:30am-6:00am EST
good sunday morning. i'm pat lawson muse. it has been a long journey in the fight against hiv and aids in the washington region. there has been tremendous progress, infections. testing, improving care and achievement with those with hiv and raising awareness about prevention. the battle continues. advocates will celebrate the past 30 years with the annual walk to end hiv. joining us are randy pumphrey. a long time walk participant and worked for walt man whitman
whitman walker's educator. good to have you with us. >> thank you. >> 30 years. that is a lot to celebrate and the fight against hiv back then, of course, was brand new. the challenges were preventing new infections. the transmission, keeping people alive. fighting the stigma, fighting discrimination. what would you both say is the biggest challenge now, randy. >> i think the biggest challenge sometimes we talk about the community has this idea that hiv is something that is finished. a chronic illness, nobody needs to worry. people are getting infected every day. they're unaware that they are infected and not getting the treatment they need so we're not preventing further transmission. it is further education, getting people on board with being treated appropriately and adherence to treatment. >> would you say that knowing is also a big challenge?
>> people are extremely afraid to find out. i work as a health educator. what my role primarily is to go out into communities where we test and give education about hiv and a lot of people aren't coming to get tested. there is still the stigma around hiv. i don't want to know my status. i'm not coming on the van to get tested. we struggle to figure out how to get people in to a mobile clinic or whitman walker to be >> testing has come a long way. it expanded. you can get tested at the dmv, mobile testing, that is a big, contributing factor to the progress we've seen. >> getting -- the testing process is easy. it is getting people to come in and get tested or access some place where they can be tested. sometimes people are so afraid to know the truth that they might be hiv infected and what they might have to do afterwards. that is why a place like whitman
services where people immediately get into care because the faster a person gets into care, the faster we can suppress the virus and the better outcome that person will have. >> in terms of of the services and programs provided in the region, we know whitman walker has been at the forefront here in the washington area, but in terms of d.c., maryland, virginia, are we seeing a continue yum of of what is offered in terms of treatment, in terms of programs, to help those who are living with aids? with hiv? >> i think there are a lot of services and what one primary thing we like to do is if a person prevents and tests positive. if they don't want them to stay, if they will do a doctor's appointment, they can get some education around that. if they don't live in d.c. or can't get to d.c., we try to find them places in their community so that they can access the care without having to come all the way into the
is very important. randy in particular for you, you've been doing it for about 20 years, you suffered a lot of loss before you got involved in this. >> yeah, as a young man in my community, what happened was people started dying, hiv hit washington d.c. as it did the united states and suddenly so many people, and i can say that in a three year period of time, 40 of my friends died. the first walk 30 years ago, i walked with my roommate from college. he had just lost his lover. during that time i lost a therapist who died of hiv. i lost the guy who cut my hair from hiv. i mean, people were dying every week. so that first walk was so symbolic because suddenly you had a community who was saying no, we're not going to shrink or fall away from this. we'll unify and raise money so a place like whitman walker can be a place of hope and we can get help for the people who need it. >> all right. we're going to take a break. when we come back, we'll talk
welcome back. the walk to end hiv takes place next saturday, november 12th. freedom plaza. >> yes. >> it is a walk and run timed run. how many people are you expecting? >> i can't even imagine how many people are down there. every year it gets bigger and bigger. it is a party. >> we have pictures of previous walks, too. that we want to snow you. it has been critical for fund raising for whitman walker. and it is your signature fundraiser, correct? >> yes, yes. it is the one, it is a pivotal thing people look toward each
the people in the community who have been directly affected. >> so there is a registration fee, of course. >> yes. to sign up, $25. >> okay. we can handle that, i think. the quilt is so fascinating. we showed it news4 midday yesterday and i want to show the aids walk quilt again. this quilt is very meaningful. this is whitman walker's project. it is a labor of love. 30 years. >> y. believe, one of the senior behavioral health therapists joe izzo has been in the walk since the very beginning and has collected all of the t-shirts. he offered the t-shirts to be made into the quilt which is a wonderful demonstration of his passion because he is one of of the oldest senior staff members. he has been there since the very beginning working in the trenches. >> i understand the t-shirts
yes. >> your name is -- the walk to end hiv. a lot of people still think of it as the old aids walk. why did you change the name? >> we changed the name because the treatment strateies have changed. instead of aids walk. we're getting away from the word aids and more around this is the walk to end hiv and so we want to try to move towards a place where through treatment, through viral suppression eradicated and there would be no more hiv. >> symbolic of what happened with whitman walker. you went through tough times and came out of them. >> now we came out and we treat everyone regardless of the lgbt status or hiv status. we wanted to feel like you can come home, people feel proud when they walk into the building. i had one person tell me, i feel like a millionaire when i walk into your building.
it. which is a big reason people aren't in hiv care because of the perceived stigma they feel. >> tell us about the expanded services there. this is the facilities at 14th street. >> 1525 14th street. we provide an array of services. we have primary medical. we have infectious disease. testing and counseling, we have nutrition, we have physical therapy, we have behavioral health which psychiatry, mental health. we have people getting people signed up for insurance. legal assistants, we have nurse care managers and care navigators to help people with their care, especially to keep engaged and adherent to the medication. >> people can go to whitman walt man to get any help.
options to be insured or what we can do for you if you're unable to pay. >> what happened to your old facility, the elizabeth taylor center? >> it is under a project of being redeveloped and so we'll be redeveloping it next year and it will be a multi use facility. some will be specifically for whitman walker and some will be the whitman walker's future endeavors. >> now that whitman walker itself which has been to fight hiv, will the funds raised by the walk go directly toward fighting hiv? >> so you have to understand. sometimes i think this is a confusing thing to people in the community. it is like you say, well, you have other strengths in funding but there are people who come to whitman walker who are uninsured or under insured. also, there are lots of other
services, nurse care management, peer support, none of those things are covered so all of these services help to create the package that we can give to somebody that is newly infected. we talked earlier, they come in and they think just because they're infected that it isn't that big of a deal. it is a huge deal and so being able to wrap that person around with a variety of different care and say you're okay, and we're going to get you out of this cris where you can manage this virus. >> we're glad that whitman walker is still there doing what it is doing. thank you for being with us. and when we come back, we talk to a doctor and a patient about
expert on living with hiv in d.c. and she is the senior director of healthcare service. joining us for this part of the discussion is tony burns. he is a long time hiv survivor. he is also a patient at whitman walker health. thank you both for joining us. i would like to put this question to you both. there has been a lot of progress but it is still considered an epidemic in the city and in this region. why is it? >> absolutely. absolutely. d.c. has a rate of over individuals having hiv -- being hiv infected. and so that is epidemic rates. if you look at other wards in the cities, particularly ward 7 and 8, it is higher, over 3%. >> what populations are we seeing the highest infections. young, gay, black men, african-american women? >> both populations. >> young men having sex with men
african-american women are also at higher risk. >> because they date bi- sexual men? >> i think that is probably to some degree and don't know their status and the people they're in relationships with don't know their status either. >> tony, how long have you lived with hiv? >> i have been living with hiv for 26 and a half years. >> okay. you're the picture of progress then. an example of how to this is no longer a disease that can't be mad. you feel it is important to stay involved in your care and you think that has been critical for you. >> i know it has been critical for me. getting to know my docs. getting to know the meds, the regimen, the routine, following through with those doctors appointments and other things have been crucial for me. >> and you started out on the old inhibitors. i guess they're not old. >> that, i actually started out
and i developed some bad side effects to that so i couldn't take that any longer but with the advent of the inhibitors in '96, that is where people could tolerate the drugs better. i could tolerate them better and i got better results. >> and what is your regimen now? >> so my regimen is twice a day dosing and that is it. i have no other things i take meds for. it is just that regimen. >> dr. henn, talk about how far you've come with the drugs, the anti-retro viral drugs and now you have a drug that prevents transmission to a large degree. talk about where we are. >> we've come incredibly far. we have six pills once daily options to treat hiv and can
trivada for hiv prevention for people at higher risk or increased risk for acquiring hiv. >> but is the key, though, to getting people to understand that they need to take the drug or fighting complacency on the part of those who think, well, because we have the great drugs now, we don't need to be as worried, as concerned, as careful. >> i think all of those things are absolutely te. it is really important that people stay engaged in care and take the medications as directed. but if they do that, they can lead really great, healthy lives. active lives, and so i think the more people know about their own health, the more they're aware of the status, the better off we'll all be. >> the prep drug, just wanted to get a clear understanding, understanding exactly how it works. some think the drugs that we
that is not totally true. >> no. but they greatly reduce transmission. so truvada can be taken once daily as preexposure to prevent transmission and this is great for people who are in a relationship, in a relationship with somebody who is hiv-positive and they're hiv negative and multiple sex partners and want to stay healthy and protect themselves from becoming infected. >> we'll take a break. we'll continue our talk.
getting care or in treatment. 90% getting the detectivable viral levels down, way down and 50%, 50% reduction in new diagnosis by the year 2020. is that realistic? >> it is an ambitious goal. i think it is a great and important goal. i think we talk a lot about the care continue um. unless you know the status or in care, we're going to continue to see this epidemic progress and we're going to continue to see new infections. notly protect their own health but we need to make sure everyone has been tested, is in care, on treatment and has an undetectivable viral load. >> although many people know that hiv is now preventible, there are still too many that don't. would you agree with that. >> i would agree. i would agree. i just thank that, you know, the work that we do here, for me, is
it is your life. it is worth knowing your status and once you know your status, you don't have to do it alone. whitman walker is the premiere place in washington d.c. to come for hiv. know your status. >> and i guess i should clarify my question. knowing that it is preventible. even people engaging in high-risk behavior can prevent this. there is medication you can take that greatly reduces the risk. but you have to be pro active. >> absolutel stay hiv negative. or if you're hiv-positive, we can help you stay healthy. >> you have a program at whitman walker health called more. it is a new program over the past year. tell us about it. >> yeah it is a great program where we're going out into the community and looking at our patients who are high-risk for staying in care and going out to them where they are and
important. there are mobile vans, the mobile van is out on the street. tell us how people will react and whether it is effective. >> i believe it is effective. i can remember doing out reach work. people didn't want to know their status. so they wouldn't come up to the van. you could talk to them but they wouldn't want to come up. now we've gone back out and people will come up to the van. i think it is a good tool and people are more op >> dr. henn, has the healthcare policy changed, impacted the way you're achieving progress in fighting hiv. >> i think it absolutely has. i think with the affordable care act i think more people realize that healthcare is accessible to them and so they're more likely to engage and come to us and we've been very active in helping get people enrolled with
advance. >> you would want to add to that? >> the whole public benefits department and the legal department is a making for a one stop shop. sometimes people don't have insurance or they don't know how to get insurance. they can stop by legal public benefits is getting ready to campaign, i want to say in a couple of weeks, so having all of those kinds of things in place just really facilitates forop >> what is the thing that you would say to those who are toughest to reach? gay men, black women, older men, there are men who are 80 and 90 years old who are still sexually active and maybe not worried about becoming hiv infected. >> what i would say to them as human beings, we're going to be sexual. that is okay. but know, i can't stress this
identify your behavior, you know, that is really key. we know as human beings we'll be sexual but identify your behavior, learn about your behavior, then you will know whether your behavior is risky or not and then i can't stress this enough, especially living in washington d.c., know your status. >> all right. tony and dr. henn, thank you so much for being with us. i know you'll be at thea >> i'm running. >> you're running. the walk takes place next saturday, november 12th at freedom plaza. there is all of the information right there. news4 has been a tv partner for the last 30 years. this ye wllava o there walking and running with you and here is a peek at our own news4 t-shirt. it is a pretty cool design. how about you? you can get all of the information you need about the walk on our website, nbcwashington.com. thanks to whitman walker. thanks for being with us.
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